UULM-MD 2013 Legislative Report
The Unitarian Universalist Legislative Ministry of Maryland (UULM-MD) collaborates, educates, and advocates with UUs, coalitions and organizations to pass issues adopted as legislative priorities.
During the 2013 Session of the Maryland General Assembly, three of UULM-MD's five legislative priorities for 2013 passed: The Maryland Offshore Wind Energy Act of 2013, The Firearm Safety Act of 2013 and Death Penalty Repeal. Thanks to everyone who called, emailed, rallied for these issues as well as those who worked on extending anti-discrimination legislation to transgender folks and for a moratorium on fracking.
PASSED: Both Houses of the Maryland General Assembly passed SB 281, The Firearm Safety Act of 2013, with amendments. The bill was signed by the Governor, giving Maryland some of the strongest laws in the nation designed to help decrease gun violence. The law bans some assault-style weapons, limits magazines to 10 bullets and requires fingerprinting and licensing of handgun purchasers. UULM-MD is a member of the Marylanders to Prevent Gun Violence Coalition. Rev. Nancy McDonald Ladd is Task Force leader. Opponents have filed suit to challenge the constitutionality of the legislation in court.
PASSED: The Maryland Offshore Wind Energy Act of 2013, HB 226, passed both houses of the General Assembly and was signed by the Governor on April 9. This legislation establishes the framework for an offshore wind energy project that will provide a clean, renewable energy source for Maryland. Thanks to everyone who worked so hard for passage of this legislation for the past three years! UULM-MD is on the Steering Committee of the Maryland Climate Coalition. Dave Hackett is the Climate Task Force leader.
PASSED: Death Penalty Repeal--Substitution of Life Without the Possibility of Parole, SB 276. UULM-MD members were actively involved in rallies, testimonies, and a faith group press conference on this issue. They were also in the House Gallery with coalition partners from MDCASE, Amnesty International and other groups watching the extensive debate on and passage of SB276, which eliminates the use of the death penalty in Maryland. The Senate passed the bill by a vote of 27-20 on March 6 and the House passed it on March 15 by a vote of 82-56. Evelyn Spurgin is the Task Force leader.
PASSED: Sadly, the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee failed to pass The Fairness for All Marylanders Act of 2013 (SB 449) by a 5-6 vote. UULM-MD is dismayed that Maryland legislators, despite extensive contacts, did not afford basic rights to transgender Marylanders, including the right to be free from discrimination in their jobs, homes, credit and places of public accommodations. We stand committed to ensuring that all people are treated with dignity, and are celebrated for their whole selves. Rev. David Carl Olson represents UULM-MD on the Steering Committee of the Maryland Coalition for Trans Equality.
FRACKING: The Senate Education, Health, and Environmental Affairs Committee gave an unfavorable report to SB601, Maryland Hydraulic Fracturing Moratorium and Right to Know Act of 2013. This bill would have required scientifically credible studies be done on the consequences of the natural gas extraction process known as fracking before it could be used in Maryland. Governor O’Malley budgeted $1.5 million to pay for studies on the safety of fracking before setting fracking policy for Maryland. David Hackett led our work.
PASSED: AFFORDABLE CARE ACT: Maryland Health Progress Act of 2013 (SB 274/HB 228). UULM-MD provided support for legislation for the implementation of the Affordable Care Act in Maryland as part of the Maryland Women’s Coalition for Health Care Reform and Health Care for All. Jan Bird and Betty McGarvie Crowley coordinated this work.